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The Differences between 3D Printing and Injection Molding

3D printing and injection molding are both manufacturing process excellent at making prototypes or replacing parts, which easily makes the designer’s vision and creation as realistic as possible. Though sharing a lot in common, 3D printing and injection molding still differ in many aspects.
First of all, 3D printing is an additional process of building objects layer by layer. You can observe the build process as it happens, which will be very helpful for testing new designs. However, injection molding uses molds (as you might guess from the name). The reversal of the object is engraved from a material that can safely process the molten building material (the material of the finished object). The molten build material is then poured into the mold. Once the material is cooled in the mold, the product is completed.
It is important to be aware of the differences between the processes to determine which process is best for your application. Therefore, let’s probe into their differences.

Brief Introduction
3D Printing 
It is obvious that you can find everything you need in a large price range. If you haven’t decided which types of 3D printing service and 3D printing you are going to use, you can give a shoot on CREALITY 3D, which is a leading Chinese 3D printer manufacturer covering varieties of 3D printers and accessories such as 3D printing filaments. If you want to cultivate your personal interests or long-term manufacturing, you can test your initial ideas on these services.
A wide range of 3D printing materials can be applied based on the 3D printing technology you are going to use. For example, FDM materials such as ABS, PLA, TPU, and different types of resins used SLA 3D printing.
Injection Modeling 
Injection molding requires a specific machine that includes a material hopper, an injection piston (or a plunger), and a heating unit. The molding machines are designed to hold the mold in place while the mold is being filled, so there is nothing to squeeze them to mess up the final product. In fact, manufacturing molds from original designs are costly, butthe manufacturer has to make molds on a large scale with hardened steel, aluminum or copper alloy to withstand the heat of the injection process. You can also have a lot of options in injection modeling materials like metal alloys, and plastic polymers. The specific material you need to use depends on what final product you are working on.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages of 3D printing 
1. Low cost 
You can spend as much money as possible into 3D printing and enjoy as many options as you can choose from. The desktop 3D printer or even industrial 3D printer can help you save more money than injection modeling. There are always large online communities providing service and assistance for 3D printing enthusiasts. People gather together in groups to discuss the problem encountering during the printing process. It cost less, or even doesn’t cost any.
2. Flexible
Thanks to its advantages of flexibility, the defects can be easily modified in the 3D printing process since you can pause the 3D printer in the intermediate process and continue in the same position, which is very useful to avoid wasting the entire material on objects. Otherwise, it will get you started from the ground up.
3. Capable
3D printing produces final products by adding layers on top of each other, which makes them ideal for creating complex infrastructures. The extruder provides a delicate feel to the print details, with the previous layer as a support
Disadvantages of 3D printing 
Limited Production
Due to the limited printing space, and the detail-oriented process of 3D printing, it severely limits the ability to print multiple objects at once. Most 3D printers can only produce one or two models at a time. Besides, the extruder arms always have the largest range. In addition, the larger the print hangs from the edge of the print area, the more unstable the overall design is. Large-scale 3D printing is possible.
Advantages of Injection Modeling 
1. Large scale production
Injection modeling is designed to produce a large number of molds at a time. Capable of large scale production, it is quite economical to products a large number of molds. It is the perfect choice if you are going to mass produce your design.
2. Strength enhancement
The object made by injection molding only consists of a single layer which will greatly enhance the strength of the final product. In addition, injection molding can deal with a variety of dense materials, such as concrete.

Disadvantages of injection modeling 
1. Design limitations
Molds shrink the geometry of the design in several ways. First, right angles are not desirable because they make it difficult to pull out hardened objects without risk of breakage. The tilt angle can alleviate the edges with less competitive pressure. Second, injection molding is not suitable for subtle delicate design.
2. Uncorrectable defects
It is hard to correct errors and eliminate defects during the injection process. If an object goes wrong, it means that the whole moldneeds to be completely reworked and you may have to restart on the entire project, which costs a lot of time, money and energy.
3. High entry costs: 
The injection molding machine is always costly for they are designed for industrial production not for private use. Except for that, the cost of manufacturing molds, fetching materials, and prototyping designs will be unpredictable before they are put into production.

Practical Application
3D Printing 
1. Limited production
Due to the limited space, 3D printing is only suitable for small scale of production.
2. Flexible production
Thanks to the advantages of 3D printing, it will be quite convenient to modify the designs and models during the printing process. Whenever some parts need to be added, you can do it right on the time.

Injection Molding 
1. Mass production 
If you want to do a mass production on some design, injection molding will be a good choice.
2. Strong final products
The one-step molding process of injection molding makes your final a whole that adds strength to your finished product.


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